Rehberg Announces Two New Veterans Outpatient Clinics to Open in Montana
Montana's Congressman, Denny Rehberg, announced today the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has selected Cut Bank and Lewistown as sites for two new Community-Based Outpatient Clinics to be opened in Montana.
"These new clinics will provide more immediate access to health care for thousands of veterans in Montana," said Rehberg, a member of the House Appropriations Committee. "I remain dedicated to honoring the commitments this country has made to our veterans. This is a positive step in that direction, and the news comes as a fitting tribute in honor and remembrance of our veterans this Memorial Day weekend," he said.
A Community-Based Outpatient Clinic (CBOC) improves access to primary and specialty care for veterans in rural areas. They are located in areas that will greatly reduce drive times for veterans receiving health care. Services include comprehensive primary care, routine and urgent care procedures, and health promotion and education. Montana currently has nine veterans' outpatient clinics, two Vet Centers, and the regional healthcare facility at Fort Harrison in Helena. The state's veterans' healthcare system annually performs over 250,000 visits for more than 30,000 Montana veterans.
"It's been four years since we began the process of trying to get outpatient clinics in Lewistown and Cut Bank," said Joe Underkofler, Director of the Veterans' Affairs Regional and Medical Center in Fort Harrison. "These new clinics will provide better access to individuals along the Hi-Line and in central Montana, and lower the amount of winter driving veterans' have to do in order to get quality care. These new clinics will be a big advantage," Underkofler said.
The new CBOC in Cut Bank is expected to serve 1169 existing patients and 211 new patients, while the clinic in Lewistown will serve 2047 existing patients and almost 300 new patients. The new clinics are projected to be up and running in about 12 months.
"Providing for Montana's veterans is one of my top priorities," said Rehberg. "As I talk to vets across the state, they are generally pleased with the quality of care, and that's a credit to the local health care professionals and the state VA staff. Obtaining better access is a frequent concern, and these new clinics are an important addition to Montana's veterans' healthcare program," he said.